History of Arabic language and diglossia

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Uludağ Üniversitesi, Turkey

Approval Date: 2010

Thesis Language: Turkish




Although the complexity of the situation in which Arabic language was in the Age of Jahiliyya and during the early years of Islam is a known fact to linguists, they cannot agree on the scale of this complexity due to the lack of facts. Among other things, life in the desert of the generally independent Arab tribes makes it hard for us to believe in the complete homogeneity of the structure of the Arabic language in the times before Islam. However, with the improved living standard in Mecca, the city which afterwards had the role of the religious, political and trade centre and where tribes started mingling, we can suppose that the forming of the common Arabic language began. This language ‘matured’ with the advent of the Koran. In the 6th and 7th century, with the beginning of Islamic conquests, the Arabic language spread out of the borders of the Arabian Peninsula. The Arabs, who were a minority in most places they conquered, couldn’t, of course, manage to defend their language from the harmful influences of other languages. The discrepancy between the colloquial and the standard language, which began to grow from that time, grew to become more apparent during the Abbasids and afterwards with the decentralisation of central power and while being under other communities. During the colonisation of Arab countries, English and French had a great influence on Arabic. Nowadays, parallel use of the colloquial and classical Arabic is known as diglossia in sociolinguistic studies.